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No, you haven’t misread, it is really true, 3D design piracy is coming your way! After mp3 files and movies, we are apparently waiting for a new epidemic in the world of 3D printers. As a result, the main characteristic defining the usefulness of 3D printing may even be denied its own right to exist. As this technology may end up being faced with an identity crisis, a new patent is in the works that would prevent any person from 3d-printing replacements or parts for toys, gadgets or whatever might be truly handy to reproduce.
3D Printing Censorship
A US patent can now disable any model from 3D-printing a right-protected design. This new type of censorship comes in the wake of two new trends: 3D design piracy and 3D object sharing. Although we could see this as a means to censor 3D printing, this really follows in the footsteps of people using the overall concept for what hadn’t been initially planned. Given human nature, it might be the next step to take. However, while no 3D printer has been equipped to date with such patent technology, we could be closer than we think to implementing this measure meant to counter 3D design piracy.
Interestingly enough, the actual debate in all this torment is actually the fact that the company which has been granted with the patent does not even produce 3D printers! Intellectual Ventures practices what is referred to as “patent trolling” where you file for patents that you later license to other firms. All that remains to be seen now is whether the patent will hold its own in terms of validity.